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Three Summers in Silver Gate, Montana

Three Summers in Silver Gate, Montana

A mile outside the northeast entrance of Yellowstone National Park, at the bottom of a glacially carved valley 7,389ft in elevation, sits Silver Gate, Montana — an island of humanity among a sea of mountainous wilderness. At the height of summer, the population can swell to perhaps two hundred. However, only eight residents call Silver Gate home year-round and the town’s unanimously elected mayor is a dog named Rommel. Besides a handful of privately owned cabins, the town consists of two small general stores, two lodging businesses, and a restaurant.

Bigger towns surrounding Yellowstone, with large advertising budgets and shorter drives to world-famous “Old Faithful,” attract a vast majority of the park’s visitors. To this day, Silver Gate and Cooke City (its neighboring town three miles up the road), remain less trodden outposts of the little-known Yellowstone High Country. Rather than geysers, Silver Gate is about wilderness, wildlife, and mountains.